Why is it in news?
Government will be holding auction for spectrum, which includes airwaves that will be used to offer 5G or fifth-generation services, in the current calendar year. While some countries such as South Korea and the U.S. have begun rolling out commercial 5G services, India is yet to begin trial for these even as the government is targeting 2020 as the launch year for 5G in the country.
What is 5G?
It is the next generation cellular technology that will provide faster and more reliable communication with ultra low latency. A government panel report points out that with 5G, the peak network data speeds are expected to be in the range of 2-20 Gigabit per second (Gbps).
Who will benefit?
• With 5G technology, consumers will be able to download data heavy content such as 8K movies and games with better graphics in just a few seconds.
• 5G is expected to form the backbone of emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and machine to machine communications, thereby supporting a much larger range of applications and services, including driverless vehicles, tele-surgery and real time data analytics. The ultra low latency offered by 5G makes the technology desirable for such use cases. A government panel on 5G says the technology will extend the use of wireless technologies — for the first time — across completely new sectors of the economy from industrial to commercial, educational, health care, agricultural, financial and social sectors.
• 5G may offer ‘leapfrog’ opportunities by providing ‘smart infrastructure’ that offers lower cost and faster infrastructure delivery,” as per the government panel.
• One of the primary applications of 5G will be implementation of sensor- embedded network that will allow real time relay of information across fields such as manufacturing, consumer durables and agriculture.
• 5G can also help make transport infrastructure more efficient by making it smart.
• 5G will enable vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, making driverless cars, among other things, a reality.
What will be the economic impact?
5G is expected to create a cumulative economic impact of $1 trillion in India by 2035.Additionally, global telecom industry GSMA has forecast that India will have about 70 million 5G connections by 2025.
When will it be launched?
• In April 2019, South Korea and the U.S. became the first countries to commercially launch 5G services. China too has handed out commercial 5G licences to its major carriers earlier than expected.
• In India, the Central government had set a target of 2020 for the commercial launch of 5G services, largely in line with rest of the world.
Are there any apprehensions?
• There is a need to first develop India-specific use cases.
• 5G is overpriced by international standards.
Besides the spectrum, 5G will require a fundamental change to the core architecture of the communication system. Simply upgrading the existing Long Term Evolution core will not be able to support the various requirements of all 5G use cases. A report on 5G by Deloitte stated that it is anticipated that the industry might require an additional investment of $60-70 billion to seamlessly implement 5G networks.